Growth in children following liver transplantation

Riccardo A Superina*, Andrea Zangari, Lori Acal, Enza Deluca, Ahmed Zaki, Steve Kimmel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Although liver transplantation (OLT) has become standard therapy for end-stage liver disease in children, growth after OLT remains an area of concern. We reviewed our experience with growth after OLT at the Hospital for Sick Children in 83 patients who survived at least 1 yr post-transplant. Our aims were to describe the success rate in steroid cessation in patients after transplantation, to examine the effect of transplantation on subsequent growth, to see if steroid reduction had a beneficial effect on growth, and to quantify the risk of stopping steroids on rejection. Patients below age 5 yr were weaned off steroids more easily than those over age 5: 19.2% vs. 0% (p<0.05), 65.9% vs. 50%, and 79.5% vs. 37.5% (p<0.05) at post-transplant years 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Pre-transplant, 30% of patients were below the third percentiles for height and weight. Post-transplant, there was a steady improvement in the distribution of patients above the 3rd percentile, so that by post-transplant year 6, only 5% were below the 3rd percentile. Height and height velocity percentiles were found to correlate inversely with total yearly steroid dose (mg/kg) at post-transplant years 2, 3 and 6 (p<0.05). In 60% of patients, steroids were successfully discontinued. In these patients, height and height velocity percentiles have achieved a near normal distribution with 40% and 46% of patients above the 50th percentile for height and height velocity percentiles, respectively. No grafts were lost to rejection in those off steroids, and all rejection episodes were easily reversed. We conclude that the majority of children can be weaned off steroids successfully after OLT and that growth in those children in the presence of good graft function is near normal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-75
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Growth
  • Liver transplantation
  • Steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Transplantation

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